Parramatta have spoiled Benji Marshall’s party with Mitchell Moses leading them to a 30-18 NRL victory on Sunday to have them poised on the edge of the top four.
Marshall became the 38th player in league history to reach the 300-game mark, however his side failed to do the occasion justice, shooting themselves in the foot with ill discipline.
Moses, playing against his former club, was superb, setting up two tries and booting seven goals from seven attempts – including several difficult attempts from the sideline.
Brad Takairangi also finished with a hat-trick as the Eels jumped into sixth spot on 20 points, leaving them well positioned to make a charge for the top four during the post-Origin period.
The damage was done in the 10 minutes before halftime with Takairangi running in back-to-back tries from consecutive sets which gave his team a 16-4 lead at the break.
Takairangi’s first came in the 33rd minute after Parramatta were controversially handed possession when Luke Brooks was ruled to have knocked on after Blake Ferguson flung the ball in-field.
Replays suggested Ferguson’s body went into touch but the Eels retained possession and capitalised on the opportunity.
The Tigers’ handling was woeful in the first half, completing just 10 of 16 sets, and the first time they ventured into the Eels’ red zone after halftime, they converted it into points via David Nofoaluma.
The Tigers looked like they were set to get back within two points when Corey Thompson reeled in a Nofoaluma grubber but he was ruled offside, only for the Eels to run upfield and score via Ferguson.
The home side stayed in touch when Moses Mbye dribbled the ball along the ground out of a tackle and Robert Jennings made it 22-12.
But Takairangi’s third put the icing on the cake.
The 24,125-strong crowd went up in unison when Marshall almost went over late in the piece but was held up, only for Nofoaluma to get his second.
It was the second-straight loss for the Tigers as they blew a golden chance to jump back into the top eight.